Hoo-buoy! Everybody loves a pun, right? Wharf's that you say? Fishing for laughs with a pun will land you in hot water? Don't be Scylla, a good pun will always tickle the ol' Charybdis.
So anyway, today we find four nautical puns cleat-hitched to four different water stations - pier, dock, moor (ok, more of a verb than a noun. Well, it is also a noun, but that's not relevant here), and quay. And each is used as a homophone (sort of) in another common word or phrase.
APIERONTHESCENE (Weary boater's welcome sight?) (appear on the scene)
WHATSUPDOCK (Cry on arriving for a boating trip?) (What's up, Doc?)
FOREVERMOOR (Completely retire from boating?) (forevermore)
QUAYDEMOGRAPHIC (Boaters, collectively?) (key demographic)
The last one didn't work well for me, because I pronounce quay "kay," as if it were the French word quai. I save the key pronunciation for the small island, or the small thing that fits in a lock.
My favorite of the themers is FOREVERMOOR. The clue is the funniest - and - it reminds me of The Raven. In all, I wouldn't say I ADORED it, but the theme did make me chuckle, so that's good.
In other news, it's nice to see TOM right in the center of the grid. :) And there's a little bonus material in ASEA (Deployed, as a sailor), TUGS (Barge haulers), CAPN (Boss of a bo's'n), and AQUA (Watery shade). There were some nice pairings, like "A pup is a young one" (OTTER/DOG), and CHILDACTOR and ATTEN (When Tatum O'Neal won her Oscar). But some of the clues just seemed a little off - like "Exact" for WREAK, "Look upon with disgust" for ABHOR, and "Beginning of the Constitution: Abbr." (ARTI). I kept trying to think of a four-letter abbreviation for "preamble."
From the crow's nest it's easy to see the dunnage, but I'll stick my land lubber gooseneck out and say that while I maybe didn't quite luff it, I thought it was a solid launch into The Turn. Here's hoping for smooth sailing from here on.